Kentucky authority votes tax incentives for Ark Encounter
The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority voted unanimously on May 19, 2011, to grant tax incentives to Ark Encounter:
The tax incentives will allow Ark Encounter to recoup 25 percent of its development costs by retaining the sales tax generated by the project. With the development costs of the park estimated at 150 million dollars, the incentives would amount to 37.5 million dollars over ten years. Whether it is consistent with the federal and Kentucky constitutions for the state to grant the incentives to the project is still not clear; Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law told The New York Times (December 5, 2010) that “if it’s the Bible’s account of history that they’re presenting, then the government is paying for the advancement of religion,” while Bill Sharp of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky told USA Today (December 5, 2010), “Courts have found that giving such tax exemptions on a nondiscriminatory basis does not violate the establishment clause, even when the tax exemption goes to a religious purpose.